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December 5, 1993

JAPANESE RISC MANUFACTURERS SEEK THEIR PLACE IN THE SUN VIA THE GAMES MARKET

By CBR Staff Writer

Japanese RISC manufacturers are trying to give their chips a leg up by making a push into consumer markets, particularly computer games. Many have also started selling the processors to their sister computer and telecommunications equipment companies. NEC Corp, which claims to be the sole manufacturer of the MIPS Technologies Inc MIPS R4200 chip, says it is talking to Nintendo Co about incorporating the CPU in its next generation of games. It has also developed a proprietary V810 RISC processor, which could well be used in its new line of electronic games (CI No 2,220). The group’s semiconductor unit will sell the V810 on the merchant market too, and is producing MIPS R4400s for NEC’s new line of workstations and personal computers. MIPS says 200MHz versions of the R4400 will be available soon. The MIPS R3000 has been embedded in NEC’s telephone switching equipment. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Electric Corp’s semiconductor division is said to be doing joint research work with Digital Equipment Corp to explore the Alpha’s potential in games and consumer electronics markets. And Hitachi Ltd’s semiconductor business, which makes Hewlett-Packard Co’s Precision Architecture RISCs, has developed its own SH series of proprietary RISC chips. These will be used as embedded processors in Hitachi’s computer, consumer and telecommunications products as well as Sega Enterprises Ltd’s next-generation games. Fujitsu Ltd, conversely, intends to make recent acquisition Ross Technology Inc’s HyperSparc a keystone in its high-end workstations and servers. These machines, along with the chips, will be made in Japan. The Ross base in the US will become a design and development centre.

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